When we respond to something, our reaction is going to be relative to that moment. Leading up to that moment is going to dictate how we are going to react to that moment.
Neuromuscular response is built around the interaction and interplay between forces, angles and movement synchronization. We are built in a capacity to move and move well, however we are not all built the same. Our structural integrities are unique, and have a particular identity that can’t be mimicked with precision. However, we all have commonalities and similarities that help us understand movement and integrity from a bigger lens. There are continuums and paradigms that gives us great insight into program possibilities for exercise training and movement integrity, but I believe sometimes we lose insight into what it all means in the end.
The power of movement is beyond our control. Last week I received a call no one ever wants to get. My dad has passed away after fighting for his life in the ICU for over two months. My dad was a sports medicine doctor and also worked in private care. He loved to help others, loved to watch hockey and was active in the hockey community in Fresno, CA. When I got the call I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I received a call from my brother and I thought he was calling in regards to some research we were looking into doing. Within the first few seconds, I knew something was wrong. His tone was different, you could hear sadness in his voice and then I heard it, “Dad passed away a few minutes ago.” My dad had been in the ICU fighting for his life for over 2 months and he was showing huge improvements. The whole family had just been down to see him and we thought he was going to fight through it, but it wasn’t enough. It was his time.
I was talking with my good friend Dan John a couple days after and I was talking with how I was glad he got to see the whole family before he passed. It was weird in the sense that the higher power was allowing him this time to see all his kids and their children before he moved on. Dan told me that deaths are higher after Christmas and Easter, two big family oriented holidays in the US. I told him I was still in disbelief and was trying to figure “everything” out. You can’t train for this. You can only prepare for this, but even then your preparation is ambiguous because it is reality that can never be changed or reversed.
As a strength coach and exercise physiologist, I can only do so much research, and program so much, and coach so many reps and sets before its “Time”. I can help build up work capacity and motor unit recruitment. I can improve speed, movement flow and reaction time but I cannot train or prepare an athlete or client for when it is game time, whether that is in life or on the field.
In 2009 I was pitching for Sonoma State University and was brought into a situation with no outs, bases loaded and a 3-0 count on the hitter. The coach had taken the pitcher out before he could finish the at bat with the hitter. It was 5-2 and we were in the lead. How do we as coaches train that? We can’t, we can only prepare… but what coach in their programing sheets has that programmed in? It is impossible.
When I got that phone call from my brother earlier last week, I lost myself for a second, and when I realized what had happened I lost myself again. As much as I tried to prepare for the worse when my dad was in the ICU, I couldn’t and reality hit, then life, and the aftermath hit.
My neuro capacity went chaotic, my movement patterns changed and I was learning how to adjust to the passing of my father. It is one of the hardest things I have ever been through. I believe it is one of the hardest things anyone has to go through, but I can only speak for myself. Without the support of our family, my girlfriend, and our friends, I wouldn’t be where I am at currently. You can’t train this, you can only prepare for it.
I believe in training we need a good base of support if we are going to do great things. Great things come with a cost, and the one’s willing to endure these cost will reap the purity of their accomplishments.
I believe our base of support needs to be built through neurological enrichment as we grow, linked through developmental structural integrity, and then personalized based on the life and environment at which we want to live.
Every life is different which means every base of support will be unique. Preparing an athlete or client for the house they want to build based on their base of support and integrity, will allow the athlete or client to endure the costs needed to fulfill their accomplishments. My dad’s goal in life was to watch his sons grow up and help teach them skills, skills needed to give back to their communities in a positive way. My dad was a humble quite man who went beyond the lengths to help people out, while his base of support was prepping him for his next journey.
It was his Time, and all I can do is hope I helped him prepare for his next journey.
I love you Dad. You are my hero, and I hope one day I can help as many as you did.